Local Mexican restaurant delivers good food and a story of a miracle to Northport community
By Schyler Cox
NORTHPORT, Ala. – After 13 years of driving past a small building on his way to work, Pastor Garcia turned on his signal instead. He slowed down, pulled into the lot, and smiled. He could finally call the building and the restaurant inside his own: Pastor’s Mexican Kitchen.
Some might believe in good luck, but not Garcia.
“It was really a miracle, because I didn’t have the money,” he said. “I was just playing with a friend, telling him it was my dream to open my own restaurant, and jokingly asked to borrow the money.”
His friend told him he would get it to him in a few days, Garcia said, but he didn’t think he was serious. But three days later, a miracle arrived at the Garcia home: the friend, holding a bag of money—enough to kick-start a lifelong dream.
“It was so fast, and I was scared,” Garcia said. “But I thought to myself: ‘I’m gonna take the risk.’”
Located just past the Northport historic district, the standalone building was home to a string of failed restaurants, and sat mostly empty over the years. Garcia and his wife of seven years, Raquel, were afraid their endeavor would face the same fate as those before them, but faith kept them going, he said.
Luis Marquez, host and waiter, said he thought “it would be difficult for people to come, because of the location” but the restaurant has done extremely well since it opened its doors in June 2014, he said.
With only eight tables and booths combined, the small space offers what many restaurants can’t: an intimate atmosphere. Janie Hopkins has known Garcia since he was the manager at Los Amigos restaurant, and drives from Coker almost every week for the food—and company.
“His relationship with customers is something special,” she said. “We’re just like family.”
Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, Garcia began cooking at a young age and started working in restaurants by the time he was 17 years old. He has cooked in Italian, Argentinian, Japanese, and even French restaurants.
Food is only one of his passions, however. Both Garcias are Associate Hispanic Pastors at Soma of Christ Church in Holt
It was only natural that their restaurant be a reflection of their ministry, Garcia said.
“We want people to come in here, and notice a difference—it’s good food, good flavor, good service.”
Pastor’s Mexican Kitchen is open Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. and located at 2910 5th St. in Northport. Catering is available upon request. (205) 553-2320.